A final list of public school closings will be announced in two weeks, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said, but that’s just one of the major decisions to dramatically affect parents in the coming months.
Henderson’s proposal to close 20 under-enrolled schools for budget reason sparked intense debate.
“It was actually really encouraging to hear people, I think, recommit to the traditional neighborhood school where children have a right to go,” Henderson said.
But she said she had no choice to close schools, and she is weighing thousands of comments from parents and communities before announcing her final list on Jan. 18.
“These were the 20 that came up,” Henderson said. “We haven't quite decided how many will make the final list. Right now, we are not stewarding our resources well with these under-enrolled schools.”
Henderson also said that she's wading into the emotionally charged subject of changing school boundaries that haven’t changed since the 1970s. The boundaries that determine school attendance are rife with political, racial, socio-economic and other factors. Henderson said she'll spend more than six months on a plan to propose this fall for the 2014-2015 school year.
Asked about school security in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Henderson said she supports crisis training but opposes arming school administrators or teachers.
“At Columbine there were armed guards, but the disaster still happened,” she said.